The Glitch Mob Mentality
Published July 21, 2011
THE GLITCH MOB. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MYRICK
The Glitch Mob dropped their debut album, Drink the Sea, in June 2010 and return a year later with an EP, We Can Make the World Stop, and a massive tour. Just under 50 dates were scheduled worldwide, and Friday night you can catch the LA-based electronic trio at New York’s Terminal 5, joined by RJD2 and Phantogram. The threesome—comprised of Ed Ma (“edIT”), Josh Mayer (“Ooah”) and Justin Boreta—has several visual surprises up their collective sleeve. The band has evolved their stage production (and expanded their audience) since last in Manhattan, where they performed at Highline Ballroom, and show-goers are in for a sensory event unlike any they’ve experienced before. There will even be an aerialist.
Interview had the privilege of catching up with The Glitch Mob’s Boreta, calling from Florida, who filled us in on a few things. From their pre-performance ritual and the sophomore record release to skydiving and an avid fan wielding a samurai sword, he left little to the imagination, but much to look forward to.
NELL ALK: Your EP dropped on July 12. When can fans anticipate another full-length?
JUSTIN BORETA: When we finish this tour, we’re gonna live in the desert for a month in Joshua Tree, and really just disconnect from the world and write music. That will allow us to have the album done by the end of the year. We’re shooting to have a full-length out in the very early part of 2012.
ALK: Sounds like fun. Any guest vocalists lined up?
BORETA: Nothing we can talk about right now. But we’ve been in discussions with people. We’ll see what happens.ALK: Fair enough. You’re on tour right now and I understand that you’ve updated your stage production. What can show-goers expect, especially given that you’re playing New York’s Terminal 5 on Friday?
BORETA: The show has changed quite a bit since [we last performed in New York, at Highline Ballroom] and it’s a lot of fun. I think you’ll like it. We got to work with an artist by the name of Martin Phillips. He helped us create a 3-D space for our music. He created the Daft Punk pyramid, he created Deadmau5’s cube and he also created a tour for Nine Inch Nails. He’s been doing this for a long time, and he’s very well known. Aside from being very well known, he has a knack for finding what it is we’re doing on stage and what our music is trying to say, creating a stage show and set that is really immersive. So, we have this whole crazy space pod set up now that Martin built for us. There’s much more theatrics involved. It’s fun for us to be up there playing.
ALK: Did I note somewhere that there’s an acrobat?
BORETA: Yes, we have an aerialist who performs with us. Everything has been taken up a notch. It’s a lot crazier now.
ALK: Can’t wait. When I interviewed you last year, you had said you preferred intimate venues. A lot’s changed since then. Now that you’re playing bigger and bigger spaces, have you warmed to larger venues?
BORETA: We’re really warming up to the bigger venues now. It’s funny you mention that. We do really like playing the small ones, too. When we tour Europe, we’re going to be playing a lot of smaller venues. Since we talked last, we’ve been playing bigger venues and a lot of big festivals and really just becoming more comfortable on stage and also more interested in what we can do with all that space. So, now that we’ve had a year and we’ve had the time to create a show that fills in that space, I think we feel more comfortable in that realm. We really try to utilize the space. It’s a lot of people that we get to take on a journey. It’s such an honor. It’s a pretty fun, exciting time right now.
ALK: So, what’s the dopest venue you’ve ever performed at?
BORETA: Our show at Red Rocks was unforgettable. That’s the most beautiful place in the world to play, I’m convinced. It’s crazy. There’s no other place like it. Actually getting to play there on this tour was a pretty life-changing experience.
ALK: Are you ever nervous or intimidated before a performance in front of a large audience?
BORETA: I wouldn’t say nervous. I don’t really get stage fright; the feeling you get before going in for an interview, those butterflies in your stomach. It’s a different type. Maybe because we’ve done it so much now, I’m not scared. It’s exhilaration. It’s a rush every time. It’s a positive, exciting rush. I feel like we’re about to go skydiving or something like that.
ALK: Have you been?
BORETA: I have, yes. It feels a lot like playing a [big] show. We’ve all been skydiving and we like crazy shit like that. I’ve been a bunch of times. I love it.
ALK: Anything else extreme that you’ve done, now that I’m on a roll with this?
BORETA: I think skydiving is pretty much the craziest thing there is. We shot some guns in the desert. Automatic rifles that our friends had in the desert one day, kind of channeling Hunter S. Thompson. But, for the most part, we don’t have enough time to do extreme things. Luckily, skydiving’s quick. You jump in a plane, fly up, jump out and you’re done. Every now and again picking up an assault rifle and shooting stuff is pretty fun. It’s an empowering experience.
ALK: I’ll keep that in mind. So, do you have a pre-performance ritual?
BORETA: We do. We do this meditation where we say this mantra, and then we have ten seconds of silence. It really clears out everything that’s been going on in the day. It can be really stressful being on tour. There’s a lot of stuff happening really fast. There’s a lot of quick decisions that have to be made. People get irritated and distressed and fucking pissed off. There’s a lot going on. Life is top speed on the road. So, it’s good to take the meditation and clear our heads so we can be present for our performance. We do it every single show. We have for a while now.
ALK: Given what you’ve just shared, what’s it like living life on the road?
BORETA: It’s awesome. It’s crazy. There’s really nothing else like it. Especially touring by bus like we are now. You get to see a lot of the country. You get to see the country in a way that I think you only really see touring. Every day you move to a different part and get to experience it. We’ve been pretty much everywhere now. It’s a pretty cool lifestyle. It’s a constant adventure.
ALK: Any entertaining stories from the road?
BORETA: We had a guy who pretended to be a reporter come in and get an interview with us. It turns out that he was just this crazy fan, I guess. He had a samurai sword and he just started asking us all sorts of funny questions about life and the way we thought about current events. We figured out pretty quickly that he wasn’t a journalist and we had to ask him to leave. He wasn’t happy about it—and he also had a samurai sword. But, nothing happened. That was a funny one.
ALK: At least it proves you guys are big enough now to attract psycho passionate fans…
BORETA: Exactly. We’re big enough to have guys with samurai swords coming to talk to us. That’s something. [laughs]
ALK: Switching gears, what was it like shooting with David Myrick? I saw the behind-the-scenes video. Looked like fun.
BORETA: David’s a good friend of ours, actually. We’ve known him for a long time now. He approached us about this idea he had to use projection and photography and kind of mash it together. For us, we were like, “Yes, yes! We should do this.” It’s part of our process to find new ways to be expressive and push creativity in ourselves. We wanted to let Dave do his thing himself and use our music as a canvas, in a sense.
ALK: You seem so positive about everything. Is there anything that makes you mad?
BORETA: You really wanna hear something negative? There’s a thing that happens with the internet when people get anonymity and they have the ability to comment on stuff. Haters come out of the woodwork. It makes it difficult for us to interact with people that actually have something cool to say. Someone wants to tell a story or something inspirational, but you have people on there that use the internet to make themselves feel better by trying to bring other people down. It’s a constant struggle. We have pretty thick skin at this point. It can just be a bummer. That’s probably the only thing. Aside from that, it’s a fully awesome experience. We’re just lucky we get to do what we do.
THE GLITCH MOB’S NEW EP, WE CAN MAKE THE WORLD STOP, IS OUT NOW. THE BAND WILL CONTINUE TO TOUR THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, INCLUDING TOMORROW AT TERMINAL 5. FOR MORE ON THE BAND, VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.